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May 13, 2022

The Arts Are Open In San Francisco

In San Francisco, the arts are open—and art is everywhere. Visit our museums and arts organizations, enjoy public art outdoors, and let San Francisco inspire you.

Art Is Everywhere

From the moment you arrive in San Francisco, you'll be immersed in art. Watch the video below to see how you can find inspiration in every corner of San Francisco.

Here are just some of the artistic attractions featured above.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The home for modern and contemporary art in San Francisco, and the first of its kind on the west coast, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art showcases boundary-breaking works in painting, sculpture, and photography. Explore all seven stories of the building, which is itself a piece of architectural wonder. Book your tickets ahead of time.

Hotels Near SFMOMA: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco, The Palace Hotel.

SFO Museum

All around San Francisco International Airport—from baggage claims to terminals to parking garages—you'll find incredible art fashioned by local creators. You can also visit the SFO Museum. Yes, our airport is one of the few in the world with its own accredited museum, with exhibitions focusing on the history of aviation as well as local lore.

The Bayview Opera House

A historic site, the Bayview Opera House was constructed in 1888. It's San Francisco's oldest theater, and one of the few large buildings to have survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. A performance venue and community center, the Bayview Opera House is an anchor for one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods.

Murals by Mark Harris

Local San Francisco artist and educator Mark Harris combines his activism and art to engage audiences on contemporary issues facing our communities today. His use of color, form, symbols and pattern enlivens all the canvases he creates to both delight and challenge the viewer.

The Museum of Craft & Design

Located in one of San Francisco's craftiest neighborhoods, the Museum of Craft & Design is dedicated to the way we make art in our world. Showcasing works done with the most traditional of tools as well as those on the cutting edge (no pun intended), the Museum of Craft & Design is sure to inspire your own creativity.

Hotels Near the Museum of Craft & Design: The Clancy, The Palace Hotel, Le Meridien.

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts

Tucked away in Dogpatch, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts presents exhibitions and events that engage, expand, and challenge themes in the McEvoy Family Collection. With three exhibitions each year and a robust ongoing schedule of public events, McEvoy Arts’ seeks to create an open, intimate, and welcoming setting for private contemplation and community discussion about art and culture. Admission to the gallery is always free!

Light Art at the LUMA Hotel

Renowned for his creation "Day for Night" atop the Salesforce Tower, Jim Campbell's most recent illuminated artwork in San Francisco hangs three stories high inside the newly opened LUMA Hotel on Third and Channel streets in Mission Bay, in between Oracle Park and the Chase Center. The new sculpture by the local artist falls in beautiful cascading swirls of light, illuminating the sidewalk through floor to ceiling windows.

"Cupid's Span" at Rincon Park

Along the Embarcadero, with the Bay Bridge standing tall in the background, you'll find this massive sculpture created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It seems appropriate for Cupid to have lost his bow and arrow in San Francisco. After all, everyone leaves their hearts here...

The Exploratorium

Described as a mad scientist's penny arcade, a scientific funhouse, and an experimental laboratory all rolled into one, the Exploratorium is regarded as the world’s foremost interactive science museum. With more than 650 hands-on exhibits that ignite curiosity and transform the way people learn, visitors of all ages can play, observe, and discover. Get your tickets now.

Hotels Near the Exploratorium: San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's WharfThe Clancy, Hotel Boheme, Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

Catharine Clark Gallery

Catharine Clark Gallery exhibits contemporary art in all disciplines. In 2016, Catharine established BOXBLUR, which emerged from a history of performances at Catharine Clark Gallery. A central piece of BOXBLUR’s program is its partnership with the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. BOXBLUR produces socially engaged projects that are performative, often experimental, and are realized in conversation with a visual artist’s work. Video in San Francisco created by Ido Bartana. Shimon Attie created "Night Watch," co-produced by Immersive Arts Alliance.

Chinese Culture Center

For five decades, San Francisco's Chinese Culture Center has elevated the stories of not only Chinese Americans, but all Asian Americans. The Center commissions and exhibits artwork both in its halls and in public spaces around the city.

Hotels Near the Chinese Culture Center: Le Meridien, Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

Club Fugazi

Club Fugazi, one of San Francisco's oldest and most iconic theaters, is now home to an all-new resident production from the acclaimed circus group, The 7 Fingers. "Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story" is an intimate, immersive experience that celebrates everything people love about San Francisco. The story is told told through original music, breathtaking choreography, and death-defying acrobatics. To purchase tickets, visit www.clubfugazi.com or call 415-273-0600.

Hotels Near Club Fugazi: San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's WharfHotel Boheme.

ODC

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, ODC dance company offers performances, as well as classes and workshops. ODC has performed in 11 countries and more than 30 U.S. states. Their groundbreaking collaborations include working with world renowned composers, writers and artists that include Bobbi McFerrin, Marcelo Zarvos, Jim Campbell, Andy Goldsworthy and Elenor Coppola.

American Conservatory Theater

Also known as A.C.T., this San Francisco theater is home to both groundbreaking new works and a teaching program where stars of stage and screen, including Denzel Washington and Annette Benning, have honed their craft. See performances at their historic Geary St. theater or The Strand on Market St.

111 Minna Gallery

A venue, a bar, a performance space, and a gallery—with works within and outside its walls—111 Minna Gallery packs a ton of artistic expression into one modest downtown space. Mural and installation artist amandalynn has a stunning three story mural directly across from 111 Minna's door.

Mission Pool Fence

Michael Bartalos's first public commission in San Francisco fences in the lush lawn that leads up to the beautiful murals on the public pool building and playgrounds. Bartalos is the California Academy of Science's first Affiliate Artist and a grantee of the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. He is former Chair of the San Francisco Center for the Book's Imprint Committee and currently serves as Co Director of ArtMadeHere.org. Bartalos attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Pratt Institute (BFA), and Stanford University (MFA).

San Francisco Ballet

One of the oldest ballet companies in the U.S., and the American company that first debuted "The Nutcracker", San Francisco Ballet has a repertoire of classic favorites and a healthy appetite for bold new works.

Hotels with Easy Access to San Francisco Opera: San Francisco Proper HotelCourtyard San Francisco Union SquareJW Marriott San Francisco Union SquareThe Westin St. Francis San FranciscoSan Francisco Marriott Union Square.

San Francisco Opera

San Francisco Opera has been thrilling audiences since 1923. The company is known for commissioning numerous world premieres, training some of opera's greatest young artists and being one of the world’s leading opera companies.

Hotels with Easy Access to San Francisco Opera: San Francisco Proper Hotel, Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Union Square.

San Francisco Symphony

Treat yourself—and your ears—to something special with the San Francisco Symphony. Under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Symphony plays classics, debuts new works, and hosts visiting artists who are at the top of their craft.

Hotels with Easy Access to San Francisco Symphony: San Francisco Proper Hotel, Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Union Square.

African American Art & Culture Complex

The AAACC is the cultural heart of the Fillmore, a San Francisco neighborhood full of Black history. Their galleries and theaters regularly host local artists debuting new works. The AAACC is also the center of San Francisco's annual Juneteenth celebrations. The Fillmore Jazz Ambassadors has will produce seven jazz events at the AAACC Open Air Gallery from Apr. 9 through June 25, 2022.

Hotels with Easy Access to the AAACC: Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, Hotel Adagio, San Francisco Proper Hotel.

The GLBT History Museum

A monument to the history of the gay rights struggle in America, the GLBT History Museum sits proudly in the Castro, San Francisco's legendary "gayborhood". You can explore its extensive archives all year round, since Pride is a permanent state of mind in San Francisco.

Hotels with Easy Access to the GLBT History Museum: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco.

The de Young Museum

Located in beautiful Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum houses American artworks from the 17th to 21st centuries. Global galleries of photography, costumes, and textiles highlight works from Africa and Oceania. Book your tickets.

Hotels with Easy Access to the de Young Museum: Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, Hotel Adagio, San Francisco Proper Hotel.

The Conservatory of Flowers

Don't let the stark white exterior fool you. Inside the Conservatory of Flowers, located within Golden Gate Park, you'll find a colorful collection of rare and tropical plants, thriving within the confines of this classic greenhouse. During some nights of the year, the Conservatory becomes an enormous canvas for captivating light art and projections.

The California Academy of Sciences

Explore the natural world at the Academy, which houses a rainforest, an aquarium, a planetarium and more, all under one (living) roof. Learn how to plan your visit before booking your tickets ahead of time.

Hotels with Easy Access to the Academy: Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, Hotel Adagio, San Francisco Proper Hotel.

FOR-SITE Foundation

The FOR-SITE Foundation is dedicated to the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place. Their exhibitions and commissions, artist residencies, and education programs are based in the belief that art can inspire fresh thinking and important dialogue about our natural and cultural environment. In the unprecedented project, the internationally renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei created a series of new works for Alcatraz Island, the notorious prison turned national park. FOR-SITE projects in the Presidio of San Francisco include Andy Goldsworthy’s installations "Spire", "Wood Line", and "Tree Fall".

The Palace Hotel - "The Pied Piper"

The Palace Hotel's "The Pied Piper" painting, the size of most murals, was hung for the bar of the same name's opening in 1909. Maxfield Parrish created this painting and it's sister painting, "Old King Cole," can be seen in the St. Regis King Cole bar in Manhattan.

There are even more cultural attractions for you to experience during your next visit to San Francisco.

Art

San Francisco's museums hold unmatched collections of art spanning thousands of years of history, six continents, and countless styles of expression. The city's galleries give you a chance to look at the works of some of the most exciting creative minds on the planet. Read on to get acquainted with some of our legendary cultural powerhouses and learn how to plan your visit.

The Asian Art Museum

Home to works that span 6,000 years of Asian history, the Asian Art Museum is a true gem among San Francisco's cultural institutions. Find out how they've prepared to welcome visitors back before booking your tickets.

Hotels Near the Asian Art Museum: San Francisco Proper Hotel, Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Union Square.

Creativity Explored

This unique studio and gallery provides space, resources, and programs that allow developmentally disabled people the chance to develop their love and talent for art. The artists of Creativity Explored have seen their work exhibited around the world, and you can see some of it here in San Francisco.

Hotels with Easy Access to Creativity Explored: BEI San Francisco, Hotel Whitcomb.

Legion of Honor

This neo-classical shrine to fallen soldiers houses 4,000 years of ancient and European painting, sculpture, and furniture. Located in Lincoln Park, the Legion of Honor's incredible collection inside is matched by its unbelievable views outside. From here, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and the Pacific Ocean at breathtaking angles. Book your tickets ahead of time.

Hotels with Easy Access to the Legion of Honor: San Francisco Proper Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf.

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Find inspiration in the remarkable life story of Walt Disney, the man who raised animation to an art, tirelessly pursued innovation, and created a distinctly American legacy that transformed entertainment and popular culture. Located in the scenic Presidio, the museum features interactive galleries with state-of-the-art exhibits narrated in Walt’s own voice, alongside early drawings, cartoons, films, music, a spectacular model of Disneyland, and more. Book your tickets today.

Hotels Near the Walt Disney Family Museum: San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf, Lodge at the Presidio, Inn at the Presidio.

Vibrant Cultures

A city as diverse as San Francisco offers no shortage of ways for visitors to experience its many cultures. Here are just a few of them.

Contemporary Jewish Museum

Celebrating the history, tradition, and culture of the Jewish community, both here in San Francisco and around the world, the Contemporary Jewish Museum features rotating exhibitions of works by Jewish artists, cartoonists, filmmakers, and fashion icons.

Hotels Near the Contemporary Jewish Museum: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco, The Clancy, The Palace Hotel.

Museum of the Africa Diaspora (MoAD)

MoAD is a contemporary art museum affiliated with the Smithsonian that celebrates Black cultures, ignites challenging conversations, and inspires learning through the global lens of the African Diaspora.

Hotels Near MoAD: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco, The Palace Hotel.

Live Performance

San Francisco's terrific venues are open for business, meaning that you have plenty of opportunities to catch breathtaking, inspiring live performances.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. LINES has collaborated with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the world to create performances that alter the way we look at ballet today.

Feinstein's at the Nikko

This intimate venue in the Hotel Nikko regularly welcomes local talents and Broadway headliners alike.

Public Art

You don't have to go indoors to see great art in San Francisco. Murals, sculpture, and light art installations can be found in every neighborhood of the city and can be enjoyed for free.

Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center

Start your exploration of the Mission District's abundant outdoor murals at Precita Eyes. The staff of this community-based non-profit can give you terrific tips for a self-guided tour of neighborhood artworks and other favorite local haunts.

Hotels with Easy Access to Precita Eyes: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco.

Balmy Alley

Murals first appeared along the Mission's Balmy Alley in the 1980s in response to human rights violations and political corruption in central America. Today, the themes of the artwork here have expanded to include gentrification and government injustice. You'll find Balmy Alley between 24th and 25th streets, and Treat and Harrison streets.

Hotels with Easy Access to Balmy Alley: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco.

Clarion Alley

Clarion Alley is known for community and arts activities. This collection of murals reflects a variety of artistic styles and often depicts themes of social inclusiveness. More than 700 murals have been created since 1992, speaking to community concerns of social, economic, and environmental justice. You can find Clarion Alley between 17th and 18th streets, and Mission and Valencia streets.

Hotels with Easy Access to Clarion Alley: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco.

The Women's Building

A cornerstone of the community on 18th Street, The Women's Building's entire three-story facade is covered in detailed artwork that celebrates women leaders in the fields of politics, art, science, and social justice.

Hotels with Easy Access to The Women's Building: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, The St. Regis San Francisco, W San Francisco.

"Monumental Reckoning"

Representing the first Africans stolen from their homeland and sold into slavery in 1619, these 350 ancestral sculptures by artist Dana King encircle the vacant plinth of the slaveholder Frances Scott Key in Golden Gate Park, which was partially toppled by protesters during Juneteenth 2020. This work endeavors to create a sweeping through-line from America’s original sin of slavery to our current moment of racial reckoning across America.

Hotels with Easy Access to "Monumental Reckoning": Courtyard San Francisco Union Square, Hotel Adagio, San Francisco Proper Hotel.

The Presidio

A former military installation, this enormous park at the northern edge of San Francisco features hiking and biking trails that include outdoor artwork. Andy Goldsworthy is a master of creating using only natural materials, and his four artworks scattered across the Presidio's grounds make for a truly fun artistic scavenger hunt.

Hotels Near the Presidio: San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf, Lodge at the PresidioInn at the Presidio.

Illuminate SF

Illuminate SF is a collection of large-scale light art installations that span the city and turn our long winter evenings into bright and bold spectacles. The main event happens during the holidays, but a number of light art installations can be seen year-round. This includes the incredibly popular "Entwined", a new addition that's turned Golden Gate Park into an after-hours must-see.

Hotels Great for Seeing Light Art: San Francisco Proper Hotel, The Palace Hotel, San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Notable San Francisco Artists

These are just some of the talented local artists whose work you can see all across San Francisco during your next visit.

Amos Goldbaum

Amos Goldbaum is a San Francisco muralist whose work can be seen in Civic Center, Noe Valley, and many other neighborhoods. He has painted streets, vast walls and sells his clothing with many of his painting at festivals around the city.

Colette Crutcher

Colette's mosaic and tile work can be seen all around San Francisco: in parks, schools, and libraries, just to name a few. 

Future Forms

This award-winning San Francisco design studio has created, among many other public art pieces, the twisting and shimmering "Orbital", which can be found in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

Want to take a deeper dive into San Francisco's arts and culture scene? Check out sfarts.org.

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